So Long Flying Monkeys

Who doesn’t like a monkey–unless it’s a flying monkey. I don’t know about you, but I love to go to the zoo and I could watch the monkeys for hours. Monkeys see and monkeys do. They love to imitate and respond to facial expressions. A few years ago, one of my nephews (who shall remain unnamed) went to a zoo with us where you could get in close to the monkeys. He began to make faces at this monkey and the monkey was sick of people making faces at him I guess, because he threw his poop at my nephew. It was sad and funny at the same time. Sad for my nephew, but also a good example of how monkeys behave. Someone in the family joked, “Monkeys see and monkeys doo-doo!” And that’s why we have issues with flying monkeys–they like to throw crap around.

This could be due in part to their choices to act before thinking. Acting without thinking causes bad habits like imitating others and responding with a defensive attack. Many a flying monkey has had a self-righteous attitude when they come over to tell you that you should be nicer to the narcissist. Sometimes they even use Jesus. Yes, I mean they actually use Jesus, because there is a huge difference between following Jesus and using Him and some Christians have it mixed up.

Flying Monkey Cards, Cherilyn Clough,
Cards Available Here

Here are three tips on how to disable those flying monkeys and send them on their way.

1. Run All Flying Monkey Comments Through a Filter
Okay, sometimes you are still connected to someone who is connected to someone else who has been damaging to you. It’s a tricky situation because you love this flying monkey and they really don’t mean any harm they literally can’t see what you have experienced and because you love them and their children you don’t want to shut them out.

This is often the case with siblings who grew up with completely different childhoods under the same parent due to favoritism or different expectations due to age differences. One might have been the golden child who could do no wrong or one could have been the irresponsible child that the irresponsible narc parent is most like so they have this bond. You cannot mess with the bond. And you would not want to have that bond either–this is how the filter can help you. Do you really want that same type of relationship? No, I don’t think so.

It’s like different witnesses seeing different things at an accident. So what to do? Filter, filter, filter. If she says the narc was super nice to her, but you had a different experience, then you can allow her grace to live in that world. It’s not hurting you to let her have her happy thoughts. It’s really okay to disagree with others, but it is NOT okay to let them shame you or guilt you for having your own feelings and memories, so keep that in mind. Change the subject. Or agree to disagree.

2. Educate Your Monkeys
Yeah, easier said than done, I know. But if it is in any way possible to educate a monkey, you might take away their venom. Sometimes flying monkeys know less about the truth and are just saying whatever they’ve been coached to say. This might be an uninformed aunt or church lady who thinks your narc mother is a jewel. Well she wasn’t there when you were pinched and belted by her, so in this case let her off easy, but inform her.

This is the tricky part because growing up in a narc family you were told to keep the family secrets, but don’t–just don’t keep the secrets any more. You are now grown up enough to own your childhood and your choices so educate, educate, educate. Tell your story–just remember that the narc has lied about you over and over to others and you may not be able to educate all flying monkeys–some flying monkeys are just plain bullies.

Don’t try to win over the haters,
you are not a jackass whisperer.
-Brené Brown

3. Refuse to Play With the Flying Monkeys
It seems harsh. It feels awkward at first because you are an empathetic person, but when it comes to triangulation therapists from the dawn of time have been warning us to stop talking about other people with other people. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 18 said to go directly to the person you have a problem with.

The flying monkey somehow imagines he is the only person not to blame because he listens to everyone–that’s why he is such a big part of the problem. Listening to everyone does not make you empathetic–it only makes you a part of the gossip chain. The flying monkey is really an apathetic person because they are not concerned with what hurts others as much as positioning themselves politically on the right side.

At the heart of every dysfunctional family lies triangulation and boundary violations. Boundary violations come when someone thinks someone else does not have a right to their story or feelings. Triangulation furthers the abuse because nobody can know what’s really being said behind their back when no one will be honest to their face. Flying Monkeys contribute to both.

The best way to get rid of a flying monkey is to stand up for your boundaries and tell them that you will not have a conversation about anyone else. By the way, I did this a few years ago and you will not believe the peace and silence that followed. I highly recommend it.

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